Published March 11th, 2017 by

Is there hope for a zombie church? The short answer is a resounding YES!

Look at these lavish promises Jesus holds out to churches He said were dead and/or in the process of dying — zombie churches:

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7 ESV)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.

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Published March 9th, 2017 by

So, if zombie churches are sucking the life out of Christian communities and if Jesus goes to war againstzombie church, does the average Christian fill some role in that unfolding judgment?

First, I want to reiterate that churches belong to Jesus and not us — He wars against zombie churches (Revelation 2:16) and we do not — period. If a death-blow falls on a zombie church it is Jesus, with His shocking white hair and flaming eyes Who comes against them by the word of His mouth — Jesus is the zombieslayer.

But, it’s plain throughout the Scriptures that each one of God’s people fills a role in the Church as members of His Body.… Read the rest

Published March 6th, 2017 by

Back in the 1980s, as a young Christian involved in the various youth movements of the time, it was very common to hear people speak of this or that church being “dead.” Entire geographical areas were also written off as lifeless: “the church back east is totally dead, man.” That was a common post-mortem among the 20 and 30-somethings in those days. It always struck me as wrong to speak of this or that church as “dead,” when there were certainly genuine born-again Christians involved — I mean, if some of the individuals in a church are abiding in the Vine, how can we say the entire fellowship is dead?… Read the rest

Published March 4th, 2017 by

I recently read a wonderful post by church-planter Joel Littlefield: Aren’t There Already Enough Churches?  He asks and answers “one of the most common questions a new church planter might hear…  ‘Aren’t there already enough churches in this town?’” Not all church planters or denominations engage in that level of reflection before going into a place where a vibrant Christian community already exists — they just get the call, parachute in, and get on with the work. Others simply want to live the ministry dream and don’t consider the impact their vocational choice may have on a wider community of Christians.… Read the rest

Published January 19th, 2017 by

Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds by Chris Brauns

Let me begin my post about this book with one of the endorsements from the back cover:

Offenses will come. It’s a given. Unpacking Forgiveness wisely prepares us for the aftermath. Grieving the loss of our six children in a van accident and then being reminded of that loss throughout thirteen years of subsequent battles forced us to search the Scriptures concerning the issue of forgiveness. Chris not only has confirmed answers that we had found but has thoroughly sorted out what it takes to be right with God and man.

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Published November 29th, 2016 by

I recently introduced this series of posts on the Spiritual Disciplines and we’ll begin with a couple of definitions. I’ll follow-up with my own observations and insights — then we’ll move on to identify the disciplines themselves.

Donald S. Whitney in his modern classic, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, writes:

The Spiritual Disciplines are those personal and corporate disciplines that promote spiritual growth. They are the habits of devotion and experiential Christianity that have been practiced by the people of God since biblical times.

John Piper calls the Spiritual Disciplines “grace-empowered habits, and Spirit-empowered disciplines.” Piper’s careful wording is so helpful here if we are to avoid blurring the Biblical doctrine of  justification with the ongoing process of sanctification.… Read the rest

Published September 1st, 2016 by

autopsy-of-a-deceased-church-12-ways-to-keep-yours-alive_2525018From Thom Rainer’s book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, the author lists some tell-tale signs to alert us that our church is in trouble. Here are the most telling, in my opinion:

  • “The church refused to look like the community. The community began a transition toward a lower socioeconomic class thirty years ago, but the church members had no desire to reach the new residents. The congregation thus became an island of middle-class members in a sea of lower-class residents.”
  • “There was no attempt to reach the community.”
  • “More and more emphasis was placed on the past.”
  • “The percentage of the budget for members’ needs kept increasing.
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Published June 7th, 2015 by

SP11Occasionally, I provide pulpit supply, filling in for a pastor who needs a break for whatever reason. I’ve only done this a few times over the years, but always enjoy it.

In July, I’ll be talking about the Gospel and Paul’s reminder to Christians at Corinth to stand in/on the Gospel message or “word” he had preached or “proclaimed” to them, years earlier:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1–2 ESV)

Here’s how the New International Version words it:

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.

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Published January 5th, 2015 by

Let’s start out 2015 on a positive note. Have you ever thought of a New Years Resolution as repentance — turning away from sin or indifference and back around onto a more Gospel oriented course for the future? Scott Thomas thinks so and I’m inclined to agree with him. Perhaps this more manageable, year-end sort of reflection on how our hearts are churning out idols,1  may be more effective (and, certainly less painful and hurtful to others) than cruising along until we’ve foundered upon the rocks of sin and self. Scott began 2015 with this post on Facebook:

Goal setting is a form of repentance (literally, thinking differently afterwards).

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Published October 8th, 2014 by

512YfhhKXNL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Alexander Strauch’s Biblical Eldership (BE) packs the most thorough exposition of relevant passages concerning elders in the Bible into one volume, while offering a spirited and compelling apologetic for the practice of non-clerical, plural leadership in the local church. But, it’s not just for church leaders – all readers will find a clear and well-reasoned appeal to all Christians to practice a humble, relational style of Christianity modeled after Jesus Christ. And, even if you do not find Alex Strauch’s model or paradigm ultimately convincing and advocate a monarchical episcopacy or congregational form of church government, I guarantee you will be challenged, inspired and equipped to take your ministry, whatever it may be, more seriously and you will serve with greater passion and effectiveness.… Read the rest